Jeansboro sculptures coming to Downtown Greensboro

by Allison Stalberg

To celebrate Greensboro’s rich history in denim production, new public art is going to be established downtown.

A total of 15 three-dimensional jean statues are in the making by Guilford County high school students. The first six will be installed on Elm Street by the end of July.

The designs went through a proposal and voting process with a panel of judges consisting of Cone Denim and Wrangler employees. Each student’s proposal described their statue and its meaning.

Design winners include Jordan Clodfelter and Phoenix Brown from New Garden Friends School and Catherine Gray, Hallie Steadman, Sierra Tolley and Addie Magyar from Northwest Guilford High.

Gray and Brown both had similar situations with their art teachers encouraging students to submit proposals for the contest.

The winning designs depict a lot of North Carolina’s history and outdoor environments.

Brown’s winning design has seasons in the background and the statue of Nathanael Greene riding a horse from Guilford Courthouse National Military Park in the foreground. Gray’s has the Blue Ridge Mountains, Corolla’s outer banks and wild horses, Greensboro’s downtown and lighthouses at the beach.

“I thought it was really cool,” said Brown.

“My best friend Jordan also got chosen so that was really cool too. I’m excited to make a piece of public art because I think it will be good publicity for me because I make art to make money.”

Gray hopes the statues will be there to view for a long time in the future.

“I want to show my future kids if they’re still up.”

Those who have been around since the onset of the Jeansboro project are pleased with the progress.

“It was a fun process,” said Craig Errington, Vice President of Marketing at Wrangler. “We got dozens and dozens turned in and so to narrow it down was tricky because there were some real creative designs. So we narrowed it down—based on color, themes, and creativity involved as well.

“It’s really exciting, going back to the Jeansboro day, our hope was to bring to life within downtown all this heritage Greensboro has with denim, whether it’s Cone Denim, Wrangler, Blue Bell, it’s been such a hub.”

Denim companies such as Cone Denim and Wrangler have been headquartered in Greensboro since the 1800s.

“There are more people than you think that don’t realize Cone Denim is here or know what Cone Denim is,” said Errington. “There’s quite a few people that don’t realize too that Wrangler jeans brand that they see commercials of and they see people wear, that’s even headquartered here too. So we wanted to just make a little noise and bring a little more attention to our heritage.”

The process of getting these statues up in the city has been smooth, with the most challenging part just narrowing the entries down.

“We thought one of the challenges might be working through the city as to how to get these installed, “said Errington, “but we’ve had so much cooperation with the city.”

Marketing coordinator Cortney Arnold is excited to see the artwork come to life.

“All these kids are in high school and when they come back in five years after college or ten years, whatever their plans are, they’ll come back and they’ll see their statues. It’s a lasting memory for them and for us.” !